We are super excited to share that Orange Fiber, one of the startups that we partnered up with for our Wardrobe of the Future project, has been included in H&M’s collections: Conscious Exclusive.
Described as the “most anticipated collection” by H&M, the joint venture was driven by the need to reinvent fashion in a greener way. Having had a peek at the collection, you can look forward to pieces like the Bardot corset top- created using Orange Fiber’s sustainable fabric made from orange juice by-products.
Making a Luxurious Fabric Out of Waste
As we impatiently wait for a chance to own a garment from the collection, let us take a moment to look back at the Italian company’s achievements so far. Orange Fiber first came to our attention when they won H&M Foundation’s annual award, the Global Change Award. They were selected from more than 2,700 projects from 112 different countries. It was a win that set them on a path to recognition and it wasn’t long before their luxe fabric was in demand from fashion brands like Salvatore Ferragamo.
Founded in 2014, by Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena, the startup successfully developed an innovative process that turned more than 700,000 tonnes of by-product from citrus processing industry into a high-quality fabric that can respond to the need for sustainability and innovation of fashion brands. They did this by extracting the cellulose from the fibres that are discarded from the industrial pressing and processing of oranges. Through nanotechnology techniques, the fibre is enriched with citrus fruit essential oils, creating a unique and sustainable fabric.
Like anything new, their road to success was paved with a few challenges. The biggest problem was the industrial scale up and the optimisation of the costs of production. On this Enrica, in a recent interview, said; “We are working on the process and the synergies with citrus squeezers and their processes, and on the other hand we are working with industrial players in the cellulosic industry for fabrics to adjust to their standard of productions, while keeping in mind the brand’s requests and preferences that we discovered with our first production and testing our samples on the market with different players.”
The Conscious Style Statement
Besides educating us on how we can take a different more sustainable approach to material design, Orange Fiber is attracting the ‘green celebrities’, and most recently, Taiwanese model and actor Chiling Lin. She made a conscious style statement at this year’s Global Change Award when she wore a silk-like fabric crafted from by-products from citrus juice production.
Combining timeless designs, Orange Fiber’s dress bragged a fluid floral print and sheer recycled tulle skirt. On the dress, Lin stated: “I love this gown as it’s very glamorous with beautiful details, but what’s even better is that this silk-like fabric is made of citrus peel, the result from one of last year’s Global Change Award winners. It shows that by starting thinking in new ways, circularity can take the fashion industry to the next level, without compromising on style.”
So what does the future look like for Orange Fiber? Well, Enrica summed it up nicely when she said: “We hope to establish ourselves as the first Italian mover in the segment of sustainable fabrics through a “green” production of cellulosic fabrics from renewable sources.” She continues: “(We) want to create a highly recognisable textile brand committed toward environmental protection and transparency. Further, we want to expand our production outside of Europe to increase our impact and minimise our logistics, keeping in mind our sustainability goal”. Sounds like a future proof plan to us.